Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthSeptember 14, 1967
SpouseDee Dee Hemby
FactChildren: India Isabella and Roman
  • Born in Pennsylvania, Dan Cortese excelled in sports and academics, earning a Broadcasting degree from the University of North Carolina.
  • He rose to fame hosting “MTV Sports”, winning an Emmy Award.
  • Dan is known for roles in “Veronica’s Closet” and “What I Like About You”.
  • He married Dee Dee Hemby with two children; later married Carolina London and had a third child.
  • He has an estimated net worth of $2.5 million as of 2024.

Who is Dan Cortese?

Born on 14 September 1967, in Sewickley,  Pennsylvania, under the unpredictable and volatile sign of Virgo, Daniel James Cortese is a 56-year-old American actor, host and TV personality. He is best known for his role as Laird Perry Rollins in “Veronica’s Closet”, a hit NBC sitcom. In 2003, he achieved even higher levels of fame by playing the role of Vic Meladeo in “What I Like About You”. With his charisma and situational awareness, Dan managed to carve out a respectable career in the sitcom niche. He is also a recipient of the Emmy Award for his performance as a host on “MTV Sports”, a hit show in the 1990s. Even though he is prominent in sitcoms, Dan hasn’t played too many significant roles in movies.


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Early Life and Education: Growing Up in Pennsylvania, UNC

Dan was born into an American family in rural Pennsylvania. Both his mother and father are of Italian descent – his grandparents are from Calabria, a region in Southern Italy, which is evident when you notice Dan’s surname. A stellar student and successful athlete, Dan attended Quaker Valley High School in the town of Leetsdale, Pennsylvania, excelling at football and basketball. In fact, he was such a good football player that he earned an athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was the backup quarterback on the team for four seasons, however, unlike many student-athletes, Dan pursued his education vigorously and graduated with excellent grades with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting. The charismatic young man of Italian descent was ready to enter the acting world shortly afterwards.

Full NameDaniel James Cortese
Known ForActing in “Veronica’s Closet”, “What I Like About You”, Hosting “MTV Sports”
ProfessionActor, Host, TV Personality
OccupationActor, Director, Spokesperson
EducationBachelor of Arts in Broadcasting from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Net WorthApproximately $2.5 million as of 2024​​​
SpouseDee Dee Hemby (m. 1994, div. 2012), Carolina London (m. 2019)
ChildrenRoman, India Isabella, Enzo
Date of BirthSeptember 14, 1967
Zodiac SignVirgo
Place of BirthSewickley, Pennsylvania
EthnicityItalian descent
AwardsEmmy Award for “MTV Sports”
Notable Works“Veronica’s Closet”, “What I Like About You”, “MTV Sports”
Associated BrandsBurger King
Social Profile LinksInstagram, Twitter

Career Beginnings: MTV Sports

After graduating, Dan mostly appeared in plays and less significant shows. However, when he was just 25 years old, he became the host of the hit MTV show – “MTV Sports”, later with Gabrielle Reece alongside him, and traveled the country covering bizarre sports and strange sports-related rituals. Dan’s charisma and background as an athlete were the perfect ingredients to make the show both fun and educational. All of this was made possible with funding from MTV, and the investment paid off when the show won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Edited Sports Series/Anthology in 1993, in Dan’s second year as the host. Due to his prominence as a host on MTV, he got to be the team coach, but also a player during several MTV Rock  N’ Jock basketball games. This series on MTV featured musicians and sometimes actors playing basketball, football or baseball in mixed teams, with professional athletes. With this project, Dan became a household name on TV. He left MTV in 1997.

Dan Cortese

Establishing Himself as a Star: Burger King

Another notable achievement in his early career was Dan’s position of official spokesperson for the fast-food chain, Burger King. He was a part of their “Your Way, Right Away” campaign, and ended up being featured in more than 90 national and international commercials; this showed that he was poised for silver screen appearances.

A Streak of Success: Demolition Man, Traps and More

Cortese didn’t wait long before appearing in a more significant movie. In 1993, he had two cameos (prison guard and Taco Bell lounge singer) in “Demolition Man”, a box office hit starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. With a budget of $50 million, the movie earned a total of $160 million. The same year, he landed the lead role in an NBC remake of “Route 66”, and then in 1994, you could see Cortese in the CBS record-breaking drama “Traps”, centered around a retired police chief returning to solve several mysteries. In December 1994, Dan appeared in “Seinfeld”, next to Academy Award winner George C. Scott, and a year later in “Melrose Place”, in the role of Jess Hanson, Jake’s half-brother, but was eventually killed off after eight episodes. In 1996, he had his biggest movie role to date, playing Jason in “The Lottery”, the highest NBC release that year, thanks to Dan’s stellar acting in the lead role.

1997-2005: Veronica’s Closet, What I Like About You

1997 saw Dan as a co-star next to Kirstie Alley in “Veronica’s Closet”, one of the top-rated shows on NBC, and was a regular in the show for its entire duration of 67 episodes, until 2000. Then he appeared in “After Sex”, a popular feature film, alongside Brooke Shields, and even though he hadn’t tasted comedy since the end of “MTV Sports”, Dan decided to make a return to “Rock Me Baby”, a 2003 sitcom with high expectations surrounding it. One of his most notable achievements is playing Vic Maladeo, Val’s boss, from 2003 to 2006 in “What I Like About You”. At this time, he also became a director, as the episode “The Other Woman” was entirely his work. In 2005, he was seen in two popular shows, “Joey” and “CSI: Miami”, further boosting his popularity as a supporting or cameo actor in various TV shows.

2006-present: Various Engagements

After 2004, Cortese became less active in terms of acting, probably because he accumulated sufficient funds through multiple gigs on a yearly basis. We saw him in “Surviving Suburbia” as Onno, and in “Castle” as Howard Weisberg from 2009 to 2010. Later on, he played guest roles in both “Man Up!” and “Hot in Cleveland”, two prominent sitcoms in this decade. In 2013, Dan made a spectacular return to hosting, as he was the man doing most of the talking in “Guinness World Records Gone Wild”, showcasing the extreme lengths people are willing to go to in order to be etched in the publication. From 2016 to 2019, he assumed the part of himself in “The Tomorrow Show” and “Beach Bake Battle”.

Dan also starred in “Changing Seasons,” “Leverage: Redemption,” and “The Curse.” The latter is his latest work and was completed in 2023.

Personal Life: Did Dan Cortese Have a Wife? Does He Have Children?

Yes, Dan Cortese married Dee Dee Hemby in 1994, and shortly afterwards, the couple had two children, a boy named Roman and a daughter named India Isabella. Due to Dan’s acting engagements and work-related obligations, they were spending too much time apart and decided to part ways for good in 2012. On 25 February 2019, he had his third child, a boy named Enzo with his second wife, Carolina London.

What is Dan Cortese’s Net Worth?

According to credible sources, Dan Cortese has a net worth of approximately $2.5 million, as of 2024, accumulated from an incessant workflow, sometimes appearing in several movies and TV shows in the span of just a few months. Long-term roles, such as in “What I Like About You” and “Veronica’s Closet”, gave him stability in his formative years as an actor. Even if he doesn’t appear in further sitcoms, Dan still has enough money to last him several decades.

Social Media Presence

Even though he is in his sixth decade of life, Dan is quite comfortable with using social media, especially Instagram, on which he has 28,000 followers, using it for announcing important moments, like the birth of his son Enzo. The only other social network he uses is Twitter, on which he has over 13,000 followers.

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General Info

Full NameDan Cortese
Date Of BirthSeptember 14, 1967
Height1.82 m
ProfessionVJ, Spokesperson, Professional Wrestler, Television Director
EducationUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


SpouseDee Dee Hemby
ChildrenIndia Isabella Cortese, Roman Cortese
ParentsMary Lou Cortese, Vince Cortese


MoviesSoccer Mom, Everybody Wants to Be Italian, Locusts: The 8th Plague, House Blend, The Triangle, After Sex, Volcano: Fire on the Mountain, The Lottery, Demolition Man, Family Dinner, At First Site
TV ShowsMTV Sports, Veronica's Closet, Rock Me Baby, My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad, Crash Course, Money Hungry, Guinness World Records Gone Wild, The Single Guy, Traps, Route 66 (1993)

Social profile links

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

As a Freelance Writer at Biography Pedia, I oversee the full writing process, from in-depth research to the development of compelling narratives, ensuring accuracy and excellence in our output. Our goal is to produce insightful profiles that deeply explore the lives of prominent figures in business, entertainment, and other fields. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, we spotlight the significant journeys and achievements of individuals who captivate and inspire our readers.

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